By: Nagesh D. Sonde

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This book is not meant to be a history of Sarasvat Community in the western coast of India. There are many books on the subject as well as there are many who are more knowledgeable than the present author. This books only attempts to give another view of the Sarasvat Community, especially those who are settled on the west coast of India. The age of the author and absence of cooperation from immediate compatriots did not enable him to go through manuscript for grammatical or spelling mistakes in the manuscript. Thinking it would be better to be guided by the intelligentsia in the community, the author sent the preliminary manuscript to many, for their comments and suggestions. But large number of them failed to acknowledge even the receipt of the manuscript let alone send their suggestions. The suggestions made by the few have been incorporated to the best of my ability. Therefore, even if there remain mistakes and errors then the responsibility is entirely mine.

The attempt to delineate the contours of Sarasvat community from the earliest settlements on the west coast of India during the long passage from the time the time the first settlement was established by the legendary Bhargava Parashurama. In the absence of archeological, racial, literary and historical literature, the primary base has been the scriptures and the Puranas. But from the beginning of the Twentieth Century, there has been upsurge in archeological, racial, linguistic and historical traditions which enables us to have a fresh look on the history of Sarasvat settlements in Konkan and other places.

Earlier Mahabharata, Bhagavat Purana and Skanda Purana were the primary sources. Now we have the archeological findings by Marshal and others of the Sindu Valley and Sarasvati Civilisations, the racial by Rice, Guha and others, linguistic studies by Hoernle, Marshal, Katre, Chattergee, the historical studies by Cunnigham, Pusalkar, Sukhtankar, Priyolkar ,Shenai Goembab and others. These have given a new perspectvesto the problems of historicity of the i Sarasvat events symbolically mentioned in Vedas, Brahmanas and the Puranas.

Maxim Gorky a Russian literary giant points out that ‘Science and literature have much in common; in both observation, comparison and study are of fundamental importance, the artist like the scientist needs both imagination and intuition. Imagination and intuition bridge the gaps in the chain of facts by it’s as yet undiscovered links and permit the scientist to create hypothesis and theories which more or less correctly direct the searching of the mind in its study of the forms and phenomenon of nature. They are of literary creation; the art of creating characters and types demands imagination , intuition, the ability to make things up in one’s own mind’.

Similarly, Goethe, the great German philosopher writes in his book Maxims and Reflections, that ‘The historian’s duty is to separate the true from the false, the certain from the uncertain and the doubtful from that which cannot be accepted by investigator must before all things look upon himself as one who is summoned to serve as jury. He has only to consider how far the statement of the case is complete and clearly set forth by evidence. Then he draws his conclusion and gives his vote, whether it be that his opinion coincides with that of the foreman or not’.

I am also beholden to the views of another western Philosopher, Santayana who points out in his book, The Sense of Beauty, that ‘There are two stages in the criticism of myths . . The first treats them angrily as superstitious; the second treats them smilingly as poetry . . Religion is human experience interpreted by human imagination. . The idea that religion contains a literal, not symbolic representation of truth and life simply is simply an impossible idea. Whoever entertains it has not come within the region of profitable philosophizing on that subject . . Matters of religion should never be matters of controversy . . We seek rather to honour the piety and understand the poetry embodies in these fables’.

The author has tried to be guided by these words of wisdom. But a human being cannot be freed entirely from beliefs, which have to some extent been hallowed by traditions, because if he rejects another will wait on the sideline to fill its place. Therefore this book is addressed to the bold and courageous ones who can question the beliefs, the systems and the traditions which the society has foisted on them, in which their commercial acumen is appreciated and lauded and not their learning and wisdom. One needs to investigate what has lead the community increasingly to be drawn towards commercialization of ii their attributes when their genius was meant to harness the thinking mind and be harbinger of the Mind and Mouth of Purushattama or as the Uttama Purusha.

When wisdom comes to marketable commodity, it comes to be discounted in the ration of the wealth it could generate. Wealth and prosperity comes to be paraded and the intellegensia stands on the sidelines either dispirited or in awe.

In such situation it is crime to be silent when their essence as Sarasvats, the children of Sarasvati and inheritors of Srasvat Muni is endangered, it is for the intellegensia to wake up, to rekindle the pristine purity in the hearts and minds of the members of the community, from shaking them from slumber, filling the blanks which are unclear, instead of standing on the sidelines waiting for deliverance from the Divine.

If this books makes even a slightest of ripple in the cumulative consciousness of the community, the efforts may well be considered well-served. No one need assume the changes will be immediate or dramatic; changes never are dramatic but take place silently, seeping slowly, silently and surely in consciousness. All the views mentioned here need not be accepted, because they are wise but they surely need to stir the minds for introspection and consideration.